Ignored ambulance call fatality ‘a tragedy’

The nurse who refused to send an ambulance to a 23-year-old Stockholm man who later died had been reported several times prior to the incident.

Ignored ambulance call fatality 'a tragedy'

“Help me,” 23-year-old Emil Linnell can be heard saying repeatedly in recordings of his January 30th call to SOS Alarm, Sweden’s emergency response service.

According to Sveriges Television (SVT), the nurse who took Linnell’s call had several years of experience in the healthcare sector and had worked as an emergency call operator for more than a year.

During his time on the job, however, the nurse had been reported for a number of failings in his work, referred to as deviations from standard procedures.

“The majority of the mistake rests with one person,” SOS Alarm spokesperson Fredrik Bergengård told the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper.

Linnell made several calls to SOS Alarm complaining of breathing trouble, but the on-call nurse deemed his condition not to be life-threatening.

The transcript of the communication between the nurse and the man shows that he pleaded ‘help me’ repeatedly on the phone to SOS Alarm but was ignored.

According to the transcript the nurse said he couldn’t really understand what Linnell’s problem was. He said that Linnell was ‘running about the flat’ with no ‘apparent problem breathing or speaking’.

But Linnell persisted in saying he couldn’t breathe.

“I know, but I have been sitting here listening to you. You are breathing fine now,“ the nurse answered.

“No, I am fainting! I’m fainting,” he said.

“Take a deep breath now,” the nurse urged.

“I can’t! Please help me! Please! Help me,“ pleaded Linnell.

A little later he said, “I can’t breathe” again.

“You are breathing fine. I promise you,” the nurse then answered him.

The call then finished with a wheezing noise followed by a crash. Two hours later a neighbour found Linnell dead by the open door.

No ambulance was ever sent, and it was later determined Linnell died from a ruptured spleen.

“The whole incident is a tragedy and we are deeply grieved with what happened,” SOS Alarm CEO Johan Hedensjö said in a statement.

According to Hedensjö, SOS Alarm is assisting the police and the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) in their investigations. The nurse who took the call has since been dismissed from duty.

Filippa Reinfeldt, wife of Prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and county council chair, described the incident as a ‘great tragedy’, which must be investigated thoroughly by both the National Board of Health and Welfare and prosecutors.

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Grounded Finland ferry refloated and heading back to port

UPDATE: A ferry that ran aground next to islands between Finland and Sweden with nearly 430 crew and passengers on board, was refloated and heading for port, its owners said Sunday.

Grounded Finland ferry refloated and heading back to port
The Viking Line ship Grace hit rocks in in the Aland archipelago. Photo AFP

The Viking Line's “Grace” hit rocks on Saturday afternoon while sailing between the Finnish port of Turku and the Swedish capital Stockholm, shortly before a stopover in Mariehamn, in the Aland archipelago, Finland's coast guard said.

The passengers had to spend the night on board, though there was no immediate danger as it was not taking on water. No one was hurt in the incident.

A tug boat helped refloat the ferry in the small hours of Sunday morning, the coast guard said on Twitter.

After disembarking around 260 passengers at Mariehamn, it went on to its home port of Turku in Finland, a Viking Line spokeswoman told AFP Sunday. It would undergo repairs in the coming days, she added.

Although the cause of the accident has yet to be established, the coast guard said there were strong winds in the area at the time.

The company cancelled its Saturday ferry service, which was to have been taken by a smaller vessel, because of a storm warning.

In September, another Viking Line ferry, the Amorella, ran aground on the same Aaland Island and the passengers had to be evacuated.